In days of yore when it was believed the Earth was the center of the Universe, it was a harsh reality when we learned we were only one of many planets that circled the sun. Today, the same could be said for the U.S. and Americans’ belief that we generate more interaction on social media channels than the rest of the world.
Fact is, while the U.S. is one of the world’s top Twitter nations garnering 25 percent of the world’s tweets, it falls significantly below Asia as a region. According to a recent Semiocast study, users in Asia, mainly located in Japan, Indonesia and South Korea account for 37 percent of all tweets out of 2.9 million messages tracked. And while Asia is showing growth from March to June in 2010, North America as an aggregate is declining.
The figures broken down by regions are: Asia 37% up from 31.5% three months ago, North America 31% down from 36%, South America stable at 15%, Europe 14% down from 15%, Africa 1.5% up from 1%, Oceania stable at 1.5%. This study follows the United Nations statistic division’s classification, and therefore Indonesia is counted in Asia.
Channelnewsasia.com supported these stats by reporting that “Asians are muscling their way into traditionally Western-dominated social media networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Internet blogs, prompting major players to sit up and take notice.”
Not one to not take advantage of a burgeoning market, Mark Zuckerberg has launched a Facebook Asian sales office in Singapore this month in order to capitalize on selling ads to companies in the region. “The Asian market’s a very, very big market for us,” said Blake Chandlee, Facebook’s commercial director for regions outside North America and western Europe. “It’s an enormous opportunity for us.”
With China’s censorship restrictions of Facebook and Twitter it seems odd that Asia would be the fastest-growing region among the network’s geographical demographics. Yet a report in July from the Nielsen research firm noted that “while the U.S. pioneered much of the early Web 2.0 and social media innovation, Asia is playing no small role in shaping – and in some cases – leading – the new social media landscape.”
However, the increase in usage by Asian netizens is due in large part to the populations of these countries. China alone at 1.35 billion people has produced 221 million bloggers or more than twice the number in the United States.
Thomas Crampton, Asia-Pacific director of Ogilvy Public Relations’ global social media team points to another factor as to the exponential social media growth in Southeast Asia. He feels that while Facebook and Twitter are popular in these countries, there are several domestic clones of the Western networks that have grown up in countries like China. Weibo, for instance is China’s version of Twitter, while YouKu and Qzone are replicas of YouTube and Facebook.
And Web 2.0 is only the beginning for Southeast Asia. According to a number of tech reports, it appears that China will be the leader in Semantic Technology as we enter the new Web 3.0 era. In my recent post, “China’s ‘Internet Of Things’ To Become Semantic Web Superpower?” China has made the “Internet of Things” and sensor technology a priority and will be investing billions to become the global leader.
While we slowly fall behind Southeast Asia in technology that was originated in this country, it might be time for Americans to raise the red flag (no pun intended) and re-engage – less we head down the dismal path outlined in Martin Jacques’ book, “When China Rules The World.” Food for thought!
– Ronn Callari